^EbledoS Old Wegt End
TOLEDO'S MUSEUM AND
This issue of Museum News reviews the history of the Museum's
building and the architecture of its neighborhood, Toledo's Old West End.
It is appropriate at a time when our city is vitally concerned with urban
conservation and renewal.
For more than fifty years the Art Museum has stood on its present
site, a lively, useful, attractive cultural center, loved and used by the
people of this community, visited and praised by Toledo's guests from
every state in the union and from every corner of the world. The treasures
it contains and the varied educational services it offers to everyone with-
out discrimination are world famous.
We should remember, however, that Toledo's Museum has stood not
only as a friendly dynamic attraction but, also, as a solid element of
stability in a neighborhood already well established when the first sector
of the Museum was built in 1912.
Can this neighborhood, Toledo's Old West End, survive in an era of
growth and change? We think it can and should. The large houses lining
the shaded streets form an integral area which represents one of the most
important remaining examples of American residential architecture of the
late Victorian and Edwardian times.
There are numerous examples in many American cities today where
interested civic groups have preserved architecture of such urban areas by
thoughtful adaptation to modern uses. It is vitally important to the cultural
integrity of Toledo that Toledo's Old West End be preserved as a functional
and living element in the city's urban renewal plans.
Otto Wittmann, Director
COVER: GERBER HOUSE, Lithograph, 1875, by Joseph K.
THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE MUSEUM BUILDING
When the Toledo Museum of Art was founded in 1901 by a small group
of Toledo citizens under the leadership of Edward Drummond Libbey, its first
quarters were in the Gardner Building in downtown Toledo. This location was
opened to the public on December 2, 1901, and housed the new Museum's first
three exhibitions. The earliest building devoted solely to the Museum's needs
was the Brown residence, a large brick house at Madison and Thirteenth Street.
Remodeled to include three ample sky-lighted galleries on the upper floor with
storage and classroom space on the lower, it was dedicated as the Art Museum
on January 19, 1903. It soon proved too small, and wings were constructed on
either side giving an additional five galleries. However, the Museum's first
director, George W. Stevens, was determined to have a permanent structure
built specifically for the Museum.
The new building became a possibility in 1907 when Mr. Libbey offered to
provide the site of the Maurice A. Scott estate on Monroe at Scottwood in the
fashionable West End. This acreage was filled with great forest oaks and there-
fore well suited for conversion into the beautiful park planned to surround the
new building. It also was centrally located on the main public transit lines.
The design of the building was basically due to Mr. Stevens' sensitivity to the
needs of combining the functions of a museum and an educational center into
one structure which would encourage rather than awe the visitor. The architects
employed to turn Mr. Stevens' ideas into workable form were the firm of
Green & Wicks of Buffalo, N. Y., assisted by Harry W. Wachter of Toledo.
The first portion of the present building was opened on January 17, 1912 with
all the ceremony and fanfare warranted by the impressive white marble struc-
ture. It must be remembered that by 1912 many major cities in the Midwest
were already bidding for cultural attention by constructing permanent art
museums. National acclaim acknowledged Toledo's building to be one of the
finest of its kind in the world.
The 1912 section is the front part of the present central portion and con-
tained thirteen galleries, a library, director's office and a 288 seat auditorium
called the Hemicycle. The ground floor had rooms for additional exhibition
space as well as for classrooms, storage and packing facilities. The main floor
galleries, although large enough, were also arranged so that a friendly feeling
prevailed. This sense of intimacy has always characterized Toledo's Museum
building, unlike many of the other museums built before or during this period,
and was due to the theories of Mr. Libbey and Mr. Stevens, that a museum
should appeal to everyone.
The exterior of the building anticipated the friendliness of the interior.
Although formal in accord with the ideas of the day, it was not pretentious.
A wide Ionic colonnade was flanked by unadorned walls, the whole surmounted
by a low entablature. Broad steps and terraces, as wide as the colonnade, led
up to the entrance. White Vermont marble contrasted pleasantly with the green,
luxurious landscaping. Toledo had every right to be proud of its new building.
In little more than a decade a dream had become a glistening, solid reality.
The second phase of the building, because of World War I, was not realized
until 1926 when enlargements were made to the rear, squaring-out the earlier
rectangular structure, and doubling the former exhibition space. The Hemicycle
was enlarged to an 800 seat auditorium and formed a center about which were
ranged the galleries. The exterior of the rear facade was articulated with a long
Ionic colonnade matching the Monroe Street side and giving a formal finish
to the rear entrance.
ORIGINAL SKETCH FOR 1912 BUILDING BY
GEORGE W. STEVENS, about 1907
l M u
The next and most important enlargement occured in 1931-1933 when, at
the request of Mrs. Libbey, construction of the east and west wings was under-
taken. These extensions which tripled the Museum's size were anticipated by
Mr. Libbey, who made provision for them in his will. Construction was under-
taken at this time because of the concerned interest of Mrs. Libbey and the
Museum authorities in providing jobs for workers in desperate need during the
early years of the great depression.
Edward B. Green, surviving partner of the Green & Wicks firm, designed
the formal elements of the extended plan. The arrangement of the interior
space was undertaken, as previously, by Museum officials who knew only too
well the required needs. Two major elements went into the plan. The first and
most spectacular was the great Peristyle, a concert hall with a seating capacity
of 1,750; its classical style was entirely Mrs. Libbey's conception. The design
of its unique suspended accoustic ceiling was a "first" in American construction
and a feat accomplished by the contracting firm of A. Bentley & Sons, Inc. of
Toledo. The second element, equally unique but generally unrealized by the
average Museum visitor, was the incorporation within the shining new marble
walls of space for school class-rooms and future galleries. It is this space that
still houses the Museum's world-famous educational program and allows the
flexibility and growth of gallery installation. Few other great American museums
built during the first half of the twentieth century evidenced such foresight.
To harmonize the wings with the original 1912 facade the formal elements
of the main entrance were halved placing shortened colonnades on the Monroe
Street projection of each wing. These entrances had the broad steps and terraces
of the main entrance, but reduced to fit their abbreviated horizontal scale.
The prime purpose of the wings was to provide adequate and suitable space
for the all important educational aspect of the Museum. While the Peristyle in
the East Wing provided a magnificent setting for the distinguished musical
events scheduled by the Museum, nearly the entire ground floor of the West
Wing was devoted to the functions of the School of Design and furnished the
most modern and comprehensive educational space found in any museum in
the world. The model established in Toledo has influenced museum educational
planning for the past thirty-five years.
Landscaping has always played an important part in the Museum's plan-
ning, and provides an impressive setting for the building. The giant forest oaks
of the Scott estate comprise more than half the trees on the Museum's ground
and offer a 200 year old stand of virgin timber which is nearly unique in northern
Ohio. The great copper beeches next to Monroe Street were over 100 years old
when they were planted about 1900. The 1912 landscaping scheme also incor-
porated extensive planting of additional trees and shrubbery. In 1931-33 the
grounds were re-arranged to allow for the new wings. At this time the western-
most copper beech was transported from its original location, and moved on
specially layed railroad tracks to its present position next to Monroe Street, a
distance of about 300 feet. Other changes included the planting of ancient
European yew trees around the broad entrance terraces. The magnificent lawn
was the result of a twelve-inch deep specially prepared soil base.
The Museum and its grounds not only form a beautiful setting for its famed
collection of art, but also form a rich frame on the southern border of the
Old West End.
James Key Reeve
(TOP RIGHT) PERISTYLE DURING CONSTRUCTION, 1931
(BOTTOM RIGHT) GALLERIES DURING CONSTRUCTION, 1931
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TOLEDO, 1875, map compiled by S. W. Durant
TOLEDO'S OLD WEST END ARCHITECTURE
The gracious tree-lined streets of Toledo's Old West End form a restful
setting for a late Victorian and Edwardian urban residential area virtually
unique in mid-twentieth century America. Problems inherent with urban growth
tend to obliterate these comfortable homes built for an age now vanished. How-
ever, owners and some far-sighted city planners have preferred to preserve the
architecture by adaption to new uses. The importance of the individual archi-
tecture, the landscaping, and the well planned urban design all merit our serious
efforts to stabalize and preserve the Old West End.
The development of this tract of approximately 1000 acres began after
1865 when prosperous merchants, and later, industrialists, sought to escape the
growing commercialism along the river front. The character of the area was
established with over-size ground plots divided from neighbors by park-like
landscaping. Unlike the earlier owner-built houses lining the river in Lower
Town, the residences were, for the most part, designed by architects. This fact
alone drew a group of competent men to the city — architects who were to shape
Toledo in the early years of the twentieth century.
Late Victorian architecture is generally referred to as the Age of Eclecticism.
In trying to rival the grand architecture of Europe, American architects borrowed
ideas from older, highly respected styles. They studied and freely adapted the
Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque styles of Italy, France and England. This
borrowing, or selective imitation, is called eclecticism.
Indicative of sources Americans used is the still existing library of George S.
Mills, one of Toledo's major architects of the period. Noticeable in it are stand-
ard works on historic European architecture, ornament and building methods.
Equally important are the periodicals publishing the latest trends and the
revival of earlier styles by the leading eclectic English and American architects
of Mills' day. While the Toledo architect was neither extensively trained or
traveled, his library could provide for any contingency which might arise.
What made American Victorian architecture so different from its European
counterpart was the use of timber in an infinite variety of ways. The so-called
Shingle Style, used extensively by Toledo architects, was a transliteration into
wood from the English stone, brick and timber. While Old West End archi-
tecture is eclectic, it is not mere imitation but a selective and skillful adaptation
in available materials.
Photographs of Toledo houses by Bruce McLaughlin.
Somewhat changed, the Old West End continues to serve the needs of the
community. Although chiefly residential, with rising maintenance costs and the
attraction of the suburbs, many of the houses now function as apartment build-
ings, businesses and charities. Cars squeeze through porte cocheres intended for
carriages; the modern-day hubbub of traffic sounds through the streets; evidence
of new life for these old houses is everywhere. The following pages illustrate a
chronological selection of its distinctive architecture.
Gill Wright Bentley
WELKER-WILLING HOUSE, 2307 Monroe Street
architect unknown, built about 1865
This is probably the earliest house still standing in the Old West End. It reflects
the simple row-house style of an earlier era along Toledo's river front.
HENRY PHILIPPS HOUSE (Columbia Villa), 220 Columbia Street,
architect unknown, built about 1866.
"A Lombardic Tower," from Lectures in Architecture and Painting
by John Ruskin, London, 1853.
'An Italian Villa," from Homestead Archi-
tecture by Samuel Sloan, Philadelphia, 1861.
Dominated by its tower and heavy roof
brackets, this "Tuscan Villa" was fa-
vored by many mid 19th century eclectic
architects. Its picturesque silhouette was
freely adapted from the Medieval archi-
tecture of north Italy.
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Though more formal and elaborate than the Philipps House, the Gerber House
is less picturesque, due primarily to its heavy, ornate detail in the French
Second Empire Style. It is the personification of the lavishness of Victorian life.
Gerber commissioned his architect to copy a much admired house on Euclid
Avenue in Cleveland.
(LEFT) CHRISTIAN GERBER HOUSE, (Mary Manse College)
2413 Collingwood, Joseph Morehouse, architect, built, 1872.
view of the Gerber house,
1875, by Joseph K. French.
An excellent example of eclectic potpourri, the Scott House, by contempo-
rary account, was "a happy combination of styles." It mixed elements from
the American cottage architecture with the patterned wall surfaces of the
~ ~*7*Jt aft
REYNOLDS-SECOR HOUSE (Mansionette Apartments), 2035 Collingwood
Avenue, Edward O. Fallis, architect, built about 1887.
The English architect, Norman Shaw, popularized a revival of half-timbered
architecture during the last third of the 19th century. In America it was usually
rendered in wood shingles or a combination of wood and brick, and called
"The Shingle Style." In Toledo it occurs in shingles, clapboard and brick
examples. The style is characterized by generous, "wrap-around" verandas,
multi-patterned exterior walls, and highly irregular outlines. In the Reynolds-
Secor House an informal monumentality is achieved through sheer bulk.
An outstanding example of the Shingle Style on the East Coast.
T.R. GLOVER HOUSE,
W. R. Emerson, architect,
BRIGHAM-BACKUS HOUSE, general view.
2049 Parkwood Avenue, architect unknown,
built about 1888 (detail of entrance).
A clapboard version of the Shingle
Style with tower, fanciful woodwork
and stained-glass windows, this well-
preserved example continues its useful
life as an apartment house.
HENAHAN-BREYMANN HOUSE, 2052 Robinwood Avenue, architect
unknown, built, 1894.
This massive sandstone castle was built
by the stone contractor, Michael
Henahan, for himself. Its Romanesque
architectural mode related it to the work
of Henry Hobson Richardson, whose
Trinity Church in Boston of 1873 won
praise through the country.
H. H. Richardson, architect, ss^i
built 1873-77, view in 1877. Li£
A late version of the Shingle Style with wide verandas and bow windows,
the unpatterned upper walls introduced a formality which anticipated the
EDWARD D. LIBBEY
HOUSE, (Toledo Society
for Crippled Children),
2008 Scottwood Avenue,
David L. Stine,
architect, built, 1895.
JULIAN H. TYLER HOUSE, 2251 Robinwood Avenue, Rogers & MacFarland,
architects, built, 1897.
Judge Tyler's Detroit architects derived the design of this house from 18th
century American Georgian sources combined with the diluted Palladianism
which characterized the work of the New York firm, McKim, Mead & White.
Joseph Nightingale House, Providence, R. I.
Caleb Ormsbee, Architect, 1792.
TILLINGH AST-WILLYS-BELL HOUSE (Oblate Fathers of Mary Immacu-
late), 2210 Robinwood Avenue, George W. Netcher in association with Brown,
Burton & Davis, architect, built, 1900.
One of the possible stylistic sources
for the Tillinghast House, and a
superb example of the English
HOPEDENE, Surrey, England,
Norman Shaw, architect, built, 1873.
This ostentatious residence was the re-
sult of mixing scholarly details with the
prevailing Shingle Style. The Tillinghast
arms on the French Gothic dormer, with
its motto "Fear Not and Be Just,"
gives the desired note of ancient lineage
and baronial power.
Gothic Dormer window from the Hotel de
Bourgtheroude, Rouen, France, drawn by John Ruskin,
English art critic, published in Lectures in
Architecture and Painting, London, 1853.
EDWARD FORD HOU SE ( American Red Cross), 2205 Collingwood Avenue,
George S. Mills, architect, built, 1901 (original veranda since removed).
By 1900 formal Italian late Renaissance details began to appear as the in-
formal exuberance of the Shingle Style drifted out of fashion. Ford's yellow
brick residence was accentuated with terra cotta moldings and trim. The
use of the bowed window treatment was characteristic of the first decade of
the new century.
LAM SON HOUSE,
Avenue, David L.
built about 1753.
Unlike Stine's design for the Libbey House, this structure shows the influence
of the American Colonial Revival. It is one of the few residences in the Old
West End still maintained by the original family.
LEEPER-GEDDES HOUSE (Residence of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Toledo),
2116 Parkwood Avenue, Thomas F. Huber, architect, built, 1903.
Newport, Rhode Island,
Richard Morris Hunt,
architect, built, 1892.
One of the most palatial houses surviving in the area was designed in a style
widely admired since the building of the White House. Though the veranda is
a Victorian invention, Huber's treatment of the bowed element, the detailing
and the proportions reflect the late Italian Renaissance architecture of Palladio.
RUDOLF A. BARTLEY HOUSE,
1855 Collingwood Avenue, Edward O. Fallis,
architect, built, 1905.
The revival of the French Renaissance
style can be noted in the spectacular
Bartley mansion. It is obviously influ-
enced by Richard Morris Hunt's resi-
dence for the Astor family built as a
French chateau on Fifth Avenue,
DOUBLE RESIDENCE FOR THE ASTOR FAMILY,
New York, New York, Richard Morris Hunt,
architect, built, 1893.
DUNN-BLAIR HOUSE, 2049 Scottwood Avenue,
Mills, Rhines, Bellman & Nordhoff, architects,
As the eclectic period in American architecture passed out of style, a more
exact duplication of European houses became the fashion. The Dunn-Blair
House is the best example of this phase in Toledo. The model was the 1909
addition, by the famed English architect, Edward L. Luytens, to the 17th
century English manor house, Temple Dinsley in Hertfordshire. Originally, the
roof of the Dunn-Blair House duplicated the English model.
TEMPLE DINSLEY, Hertfordshire, England,
West Wing Addition, Edward Landseer Luytens,
architect, built, 1909.